The Spartans are back bowling, just not on New Year's or Florida
It's officially official, the No. 16 Spartans are headed to a bowl.
Long anticipated to head to a Florida bowl — either the Citrus or Outback — MSU is instead going westward: to the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, California against No. 18 Washington State.
The game will be head coach Mark Dantonio's 10th bowl game in 11 years, the one blemish, of course, coming last year during a 3-9 season.
And as Brett McMurphy reported on a slew of bowl games, news broke of the Spartans being spurned for the Michigan Wolverines, the in-state rival whom MSU ousted 14-10 earlier in the year.
The Wolverines match up against South Carolina on New Year's Day in the Outback Bowl. Fans were reminded of the 2011 season when MSU was passed over for U-M; the Wolverines selected for the Sugar Bowl while the Spartans were headed to the Outback Bowl, of all places.
Somewhat predictably, some Spartans weren't happy with that.
While the players and fans alike were disappointed they're not headed to Florida, Dantonio deflected a question on the matter. Instead, pointing out some history.
"I just look at it as an opportunity to play in the Holiday Bowl right now," Dantonio said. "The records are what they are. I’ll just continue to concentrate on beating Michigan and let things sort of sort out."
With a top-20 opponent at hand, MSU will practice with the Cougars on its mind. Practices will begin next weekend, and then continue after a brief hiatus due to the dreaded finals week.
MSU's collective goal — after failing to get to a Big Ten Championship — is now 10 wins. To put a cherry on top, Dantonio is at 99-45 at MSU, with a chance for his 100th win as Spartan head coach.
"Life’s about how you handle disappointments," Dantonio said. "I would not say going to the Holiday Bowl is a big disappointment. I’m excited about it. Very excited about the opportunity, so that’s where we’re going to play."